Welcome / Join

Welcome to the Cayuga Outrigger Canoe Club

Our club paddles six-person outrigger canoes (wa‘a) as the seasonal weather permits, usually from May through October, but earlier and later in the year occasionally. We are a growing club that encourages people of all skill levels to participate in a unique and enjoyable activity. As a sport, outrigger canoe promotes physical exercise, develops individual paddling ability, and builds teamwork. As an experience, outrigger canoe also encourages paddlers to appreciate their natural environment, from scenic vista and views to the water and wind, whose feel and force change with the weather and seasons, to the life and objects that exist in the conditions they set.

We launch from the Merrill Family Sailing Center on East Shore Drive in Ithaca. Our regular paddles are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. We also have a more intense training practice on Thursday evenings for experienced paddlers and members training for races. Posted times are when the boats are on the water; we ask paddlers to show up fifteen minutes earlier to get ready and help put the boats in the water. If you are new to the club, we also ask that you show up earlier to fill out necessary paperwork and become familiar with the practice.

Paddling with the club

For visitors and potential new members, we ask you to pay $10 for each practice you attend. You’ll have the opportunity to try paddling outrigger canoes as well as enjoying Cayuga Lake from a different vantage point. If you would like to join us, please contact a board member or coach. Before you paddle for the first time, please fill out our liability waiver form. If you are joining us in the spring or fall, when Cayuga Lake’s waters may be cold, please also review our cold water safety policy.

Membership and cost

If you enjoy the experience, we suggest you join the club for the season. Any per practice fees you pay will count toward your club dues, so if you paddle regularly, it’s well worth joining for the season – also, for those interested in racing, we require race team members to be club members. Your fees give you access to the canoes, club paddles, PFDs, and awesome people. The club also pays ECORA (East Coast Outrigger Racing Association) fees for all members who participate in competitive races.

Our membership dues are:

Full Season (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2023):$150

Accommodations/reduced fees for those less able to afford them are available upon request (ask a board member for details)

Becoming a member

Practice essentials

Bring a change of clothes and towel in case you are cold after practice, or in case we huli (flip the canoe). There are showers and restrooms at the Merrill Sailing Center, but the building is not always open.  Please remember that paddling is a water sport and that you can expect to get wet, so plan accordingly.

PaddleWe have club paddles for new paddlers.
PFDsPersonal flotation devices (PFDs) are available to all club paddlers. When water temperature is below 60F, we require everyone in the canoe to wear a properly adjusted and secured PFD (not belt packs). Weak open water swimmers are required to always wear a PFD and we recommend all paddlers always wear a PFD regardless of your open water swimming skills.
HydrationWater bottles can be disruptive when rolling on the floor in the boat. We recommend using a water bottle clip or a hydration method that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the canoe; some paddlers use a Camelbak or similar hydration pack.
FoodNutrition and healthy glycemic levels are important. Whether on long distance paddles or sprint work, make sure you have a couple Gus or Power Gels with you. You may even want to carry an extra Power Bar in your hydration pack.
Hat and sunscreenBe sun safe.
ClothingNo cotton clothing ever – this includes layers worn under clothing (e.g. a cotton t-shirt under a fleece jacket will stay wet and cold once it accumulates moisture). When water temperature is below 60F, a drysuit or 2mm neoprene wetsuit or pieces and windbreaker are recommended. Footwear with wool or fleece socks or neoprene booties, headwear, and or gloves might be needed.  In July, August and early September any shirt and board or swim shorts that are synthetic (no cotton) might be sufficient depending on weather. Become familiar with your gear at the water temperatures you will encounter. 
ShoesWater shoes are highly recommended as we walk the canoes into the water over slippery rocks. We want to move without hesitation to minimize the time standing in the cold water. You can take your shoes off once in the boat if you want to paddle barefoot.  Enter and exit the canoe from the shallowest point to minimize getting wet.
Paddling GlovesThis is a personal preference.  Some of us use them and some do not.

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